- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Born on July 19, 1925, in Cold Springs, Mo. On Feb. 16, 2007, Tom Morgan Riley passed away at his son’s home on the Bar Hill in Salmon, Idaho. Though afflicted with an illness in 2005, he died of natural causes.
He was born on July 19, 1925, in Cold Springs, Mo., to Thomas Patrick and Malinda (Sowers) Riley. His life had many adventures, one of which was, alone, at age 14 he left Missouri to meet his brother and sister in Wichita, Kan., who unbeknownst to him had moved on to Denver, Colo. After learning of this, he hitchhiked to Denver with no money and no current address for his family; upon arrival in Denver, as luck would have it, his brother spotted him walking down the street.
Once reunited, he lived with his brother until he joined the Navy in 1941. While in the Navy, he served on the USS Calvert. Tom survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, was involved in the deployment that recaptured the Marshall Islands, and he then visited Japan after their surrender.
After the war Tom married his sweetheart, Bonnel Heard, in 1948 in Harrison, Ark. They lived in south Missouri until 1951 when they moved to southern California where he worked in the oilfields and they began raising a family.
Tom was raised up on bluegrass music, becoming an accomplished musician at an early age. He quickly mastered the guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. He passed his talent and love of music on to his children. In his later years, he played and associated with the Idaho Bluegrass Association.
Tom was an avid outdoorsman. He began coon hunting with his father in southern Missouri at an early age and enjoyed bear and cat hunting when he moved to Idaho in 1965. He shared his love of the hunt with his children and passed on his love of animals.
He was preceded in death by his infant son, Randall Joseph; daughter, Barbara Lynn; three brothers, Bill, Earl and Edwin; sister, Pauline and his parents Thomas Patrick and Malinda.
He is survived by his sons, Ronnie and Thomas of Salmon, Idaho; two daughters and their husbands, Roseanna and Glenn Nelson, of Victor, Mont., and Lori and Keith Burson of Marsing, Idaho; four grandsons, Zackery, Nathan, Scott and Nickolas; two great-grandchildren, Elijah and Madison; and a sister Helen Slack.
A memorial service and life celebration will be held July 19, at his home in Lowman, Idaho. The family requests that memorials or honorariums be made to the North Fork Community Church in North Fork, Idaho.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Jones & Casey Funeral Home of Salmon, Idaho.